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If it is not cross platform then I am not interested!

In my current role I come across a large number of innovative resources that keen sales people or enthusiastic users try to get me to adopt. Now, I admit I do get a little excited about new technology and sometimes get blinded by the bling of something new. However, if it only runs on the iPad or it is a .exe file, then I am not interested.

Image of Mobile Devices

Image from Flickr By Régis Gaidot

For teachers and students to adopt new learning technology there should be as few barriers as possible. One such barrier are native apps that do not have an equivalent on alternative platforms. Surely this is integral to launching any new software, it must run on as many devices as possible. I know there are Web 2.0 and HTML5 technologies that avoid the device specificity and can be used to deliver multi-media, however these cannot make full use of the hardware as a native app would.

For example, KoSu is an excellent tool for creating mobile learning material easily. However, at the moment it is only for (IOS 5 and above) Apple devices. Until their promised Android App comes out this prevents me from advising anyone to adopt it. There are also a number of fantastic apps for teachers on the iPad (eg. TeacherPal), but they are iPad only.

This is not just restricted to Apple developers. I was recently recommended a cool bit of software to created quizzes for online courses. However, it was an .exe file!

I was a programmer for a number of years and know a thing about software distribution and it is quite straightforward to create a .exe file, but it lacks the forethought of the world of education where there are a number of none Microsoft computers, and network restrictions that prevent the downloading and/or installing of .exe files. Either develop it to be installed on a number of platforms or get it in the Cloud.

I am a strong advocate of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) principle. If we are to take advantage of students use of ubiquitous technology then we need to make sure that what ever we use (or expect the students to use) is cross platform and can be utilised on as many devices as possible. Do you think twice about cross platform support before you adopt a new piece of technology?

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